Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions 2011

This is a list of resolutions and goals I have. They probably won't all happen this year, but at least having them written down makes them something that I can start working towards this year.

Personal Goals

  • Lose baby weight
  • Take a walk with Brady in his stroller daily
  • Be a better wife, show Kurt how much I appreciate him
  • Go on a vacation with Kurt and Brady
  • Continue trying new recipes and learning to make things from scratch
  • Get all paperwork filed and organized
  • Use my crock pot more
  • Find a live-in caregiver for my mom
  • Force myself to clean and organize for 15 minutes every day
  • Pay off Hospital Bills by April



Brady

  • Start making homemade baby food
  • Continue breastfeeding Brady until he is one year 
  • Continue taking monthly shots with Brady next to his Teddy bear
  • Get more involved with play groups /mommy groups
  • Get Brady to sleep 12 hours a night

Home Sweet Home

  • Finish renovating the office/guestroom
    • Lay Bamboo Floors
    • Add baseboards
    • Build a desk
    • Put together the daybed
    • Buy and Install a closet organizer
    • Decorate
  • Spruce up our  curb appeal
    • New light fixtures, street number, mailbox, door knob, doorbell
    • Paint the whole exterior
    • Landscaping- get rid of weeds, plant a willow tree, and put new flowers in the flower beds
    • Eventually extend the front patio cover to make a front porch the full length of the house
  • Backyard
    • Start growing veggies and herbs and fruit trees
    • Renovate back patio
    • Plant Bamboo along perimeter of yard
    • Plant tropical flowers and landscape
    • Add a waterfall with a koi pond
  • Update the Kitchen
    • Finish painting the kitchen
    • Replace kitchen lighting
    • Put knobs and drawer pulls on kitchen cabinets and drawers
    • Refinish cabinets
    • Replace Counter tops
    • Replace backsplash
    • Replace oven hood
  • Update the dining room built-in cabinets
    • Paint them white
    • Replace wood shelves with glass shelves
    • Add cabinet lights
    • Add cabinet knobs and drawer pulls
    • Put bead board against the back wall
  • Hallway
    • Replace all the hallway doors with new ones
    • Paint new doors
    • Install new door knobs
    • Create Photo Gallery
  • Master Bedroom
    • Finish trim on the new window
    • Buy new bedroom furniture
  • Put pictures up on our walls in the living room, and master bedroom
  • Arch the doorways leading to the kitchen and hallway
  • Garage
    • Buy a pantry for grocery items we stockpile when we find good deals
    • Get rid of all the junk!
    • Organize everything

Working from Home
I am in the process of transforming myself from a workaholic working 6 days a week to a work at home mom. I already had a side business doing graphic and web design. And my husband has a videography business. My goal is to expand these businesses and try a few other things. I want to try making money from home doing a variety of things.
  • Just Imagine Designs- My Graphic and Web Design business
    • Get more web design clients paying a monthly fee
  • Advertise New Chapter Productions- Kurt's Wedding and Event Videography Business
  • Designing Dreams- wedding planner business
    • Create a website
    • Establish a price list
    • Make business cards
    • Do a bridal show
  • Start and regularly update blogs
    • Personal Blog
    • Budget Bride Blog: A blog about how to save money on your dream wedding
    • Deal-icious Deals: A blog that shares money saving tips 
  • Start My Digital Mementos- a service that scans and digitizes photos and old negatives
    • Finish making website
    • Advertise my service
  • Educate Myself
    • Expand my web design and blog design knowledge
    • Expand my SEO knowledge (search engine optimization)


Updates on My Goals for This Year
As I make my way through the year, I'll share the progress I'm making on these little goals of mine.







Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Nething Family!

2010 has been such an amazing year for us. Our little boy has brought so much happiness to our lives. Here's our Christmas card this year.


Kurt and I did the photo shoot (yes I actually took some of those beautiful shots!) I designed the card and we printed it on a 5x7 postcard front and back.

Mom

For those of you that haven't heard, my mom has been going through some major medical problems. Her MS (Multiple Sclerosis) has quickly progressed, and is starting to affect her mind now. It's always affected her body, but this time, it's affecting her thought processing, comprehension, decision making, and causing major anxiety.

So, I know it's been about a month since my last blog post, but things have been a little crazy around here to say the least!

We are looking for caregivers for her. If anyone is interested, please visit www.care4karen.com. We're looking for a live in caregiver to work nights and weekends only. Please help me get the word out that we are looking for someone.

Keep my mom in your prayers that she will bounce out of this and back to her old self! I want my momma back!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Secrets from a Black Friday Master





I must admit that Black Friday is my all time favorite holiday. Nothin says "holiday spirit" better than hundreds of strangers camped in a line that wraps around the back of Walmart in the cold at 3 am waiting for the best deals on a Kitchenaid Mixer. The doors finally open and the stampede swarms in and fills the store within 3.7 seconds. Then the true chaos starts with hundreds of people running as fast as they can towards the $200 52" flat screen TV, sometimes trampling the poor employees. Everyone is yelling, shoving people out of their way, and sometimes just flat out grabbing something out of a strangers shopping cart when they turn their back (true shoppers know not to use a cart anyway!) Nothing beats the feeling of running out to the car with the item you actually came there for in your arms at 70% off! It truly is a rush! Not that I've done any of those selfish and rude things... Ok maybe some.







Black Friday has become a tradition in my family. It's something that we look forward to starting as soon as when last year's Black Friday ended. My husband and I are very frugal. We have always lived on a tight budget. We're the type who shop with coupons, currently have no credit card debt, bought a house at 23 years old, rarely go out to eat, and try to never pay full price for anything. We're not cheap, we're just wise with our money. This is one reason we love Black Friday- it's the one day each year that we get to have fun and go on a crazy shopping spree. We usually will put off any big purchases for ourselves until then and get most of our Christmas shopping done that day. I'm pretty much a pro by now so I'm going to teach you everything I've learned over the years.



What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. It is the biggest shopping day of the year because it officially marks the first day of Christmas shopping. All the stores compete for your business by having their steepest discounts. And people (like me) usually go crazy for them! The whole weekend is full of great deals, but the best ones are the "Early Bird Specials" and "Doorbusters" on Friday morning. 

Rule #1: Make a Plan

The biggest mistake you can make is to expect to casually walk in and be able to take your time shopping and comparing items like you would any other day. The key is to move through the store as quickly as possible in order to get to the next store so you don't miss out on any deals. The best way to move quickly is if you know what exactly you want from each store. I start by making a list of all the products we want. Think Christmas presents, items for your home, large purchases that you have been saving up for, clothing, birthday gifts for the future, holiday decorations, and anything else. Then start looking through all the ads. The official ads are in the newspaper usually on thanksgiving but that only gives you one day notice. I usually start checking websites the month before (my favorite is www.blackfriday2010.com). Most stores put out their BF ads online early. Now is when the planning begins. Look through every single store ad for stores that are on your area. Even look at ads for stores you don't usually shop at. You may be surprised that you can suddenly afford to shop at Macy's. Make note of which items you plan on purchasing. And compare prices for the same items at different stores. 

Get a Head Start

Go to each store you plan at shopping a few days before. This will give you the opportunity to leisurely find the location of each item in the store and try on clothes, look at details on the product's boxes, etc at your own pace. Keep in mind that they may move some popular items to a large display in the store's aisles or endcaps, but at least you will have a general idea of where each department is in the store. 

Timing is Everything

The "Early Bird Specials" and "Doorbusters" will have the best deals. The stores will change the prices of the items throughout the day. For example, Kohl's may have a luggage set at 70% off at 4am, 60% off at 9am, and only 50% off the rest of the weekend. While 50% off is great, why not work a little harder and get the same item at 70% off? So decide if you want to even bother going to sleep the night before. The big Thanksgiving meal makes most people pretty tired. If you must sleep, make sure to wake up on time! This is one day that you absolutely cannot sleep in. Now, because you will be a BF pro, and you have made your shopping list early, you will need to plan out in what order you plan on going to each store. It's really simple. Just start in the order of which stores open earliest. If you're going to camp out in front of a store, plan on getting there a minimum of 2 hours early. Then move as quickly through the store as possible to move on to the next store. 


Your Black Friday Survival Kit 
  • Plan on bringing your significant other or a friend with you. It's important that you work as a team to get what you want.
  • Bring only the basics with you. Don't carry a purse. You will need your arms free to carry everything through the store since you won't be using a shopping cart. So make sure your pants have good pockets for your debit card, ID, cell phone, shopping list, any coupons, and folded up store ad. (Notice I say debit card- NOT credit card. BF shopping has amazing deals, but only if you can afford it)
  • Bring food in the car to snack on as you drive from store to store. ( A leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich is a great snack!) Don't waste time stopping to go out to eat. Also bring whatever drink wakes you up- coffee or an energy drink. Just don't drink too much, because only amateurs take bathroom breaks! 
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable. Dress in layers. You'll be freezing when you're camped outside of Best Buy at 4am, but you'll soon be sweating as you run around a few stores. And this is not the day to show off your beautiful 4" heels. You're going to be on your feet for hours- possibly getting your feet stepped on. So wear comfortable walking shoes.

The Shopping Strategy

My husband and I have a great system we've been using. The second the stampede swarms into the store, we split up. One of us immediately gets in line to hold a spot at the checkout while the other person runs around the store grabbing all the items we plan on buying. Don't bother using a shopping cart. There are so many people in the store that you will just get caught in a shopping cart traffic jam. And people try to steal things out of other carts anyway. If you are not completely decided on purchasing an item, now is not the time to sit and think about it. Just go ahead and buy it. But save your receipt in case you want to return it. If you don't buy it now, you will end up paying more for it down the road. It is almost a guarantee that the Black Friday price is the best all year.

At checkout, make sure to use any coupons from the ads or that you printed online. Make sure they ring everything up at the correct price. As long as you have the store ad in your pocket, you can correct any mistakes. 


Why do we put ourselves through this madness?


Because we love it! It really has become a holiday tradition in our home. We save our money all year and we get one day to go on a shopping spree. We have so much fun running around each of the stores finding things like a treasure hunt. And we take our fun very seriously.  :) I hope you got some good tips to help you save some money this year!

Homemade Snack Mixes

Check out some yummy Snack Mix Recipes I found:


Homemade Cornucopia Snack Mix



 Bugles brand chips (2 bags is plenty) - They look like cornucopias
• classic knot mini pretzels
• candy corn or corn nuts (i used both)
• dried fruit like craisins
• sunflower seeds


Smore's Mix



 Golden Grahams Cereal
• Mini Marshmellows
• Chocolate Chips
• Optional: add something salty like pretzels for that yummy sweet & salty taste

Friday, November 19, 2010

Free Cookie Dough!

Ok, so those of you that know me, know that I love a good deal and I love cookie dough. That is why I am so excited about the deal I just came across. 



You can get free Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough at Target right now! Here’s how:
Transaction #1:
Buy 1 package of Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough at $1.96



Spend $0.96 plus tax out of pocket, Get back a Target coupon good for $1 off your next purchase of cookie dough that prints out at the register on a catalina

Transaction #2:
Buy 1 Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough at $1.96 

Stack with $1/1 Target catalina coupon received on your previous order
Spend $0.00 out of pocket, Get another $1/1 Target Nestle Cookie Dough coupon

Repeat until you’ve stocked up ;)
This deal is good through December 27, 2010.
Even if you don’t have any more $1/1 coupons, $1 for a package of cookie dough is a pretty good deal in my opinion. It’s hard to buy the ingredients that inexpensively and it’s nice to buy these to keep in the freezer for when you need a quick dessert! So go print a ton of coupons and head over to Target!
By the way, have you tried the new Filled Cookies? They now sell cookie dough filled with caramel and all sorts of other yummy stuff... OMG... TO DIE FOR! Good luck waiting for it to bake. If you're like me, all the dough will be gone before it even gets in the oven ;)
Thanks Money Saving Mom for this tip!


I find lots of great deals, so I'm gonna start sharing them with you!

The Most Beautiful Baby in the Whole World!

Ok, so I know it's a total mom thing to think you have the most beautiful baby in the world... but seriously! I HAVE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BABY IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD! Look at that smile! :D




It's pretty awesome being married to a photographer. Kurt did a whole photo session with him this week. There are a TON of awesome pics, but this one is my favorite. I'm gonna go through and edit them then I'll post a bunch more as soon as I can... Gosh he's beautiful!